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Assisting Local Businesses and Retaining Jobs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
12 PM - 1:30 PM
Cost: $35
Credits: CM, CML for city elected officials (see below)


Registration closes Tuesday, December 8 at 5 PM. This webinar will be recorded, and all preregistered attendees will receive a link to view the recording. Read about scholarship opportunities.

Webinar Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many devastating effects, including numerous businesses closing their doors and people losing their jobs. As a result, numerous entities, including many local governments, have stepped up and taken concrete steps to help improve the economic situation of their local businesses and residents. But what are the most effective approaches and is there more that can be done?

This webinar will feature case studies from three Washington-based organizations:

  • Thurston County Economic Development Council
  • Bellingham Port Authority
  • City of Burien’s Economic Development Department

It is the second in a 2-part series on economic development during (and after) the COVID-19 pandemic. The first webinar on November 10 provided a solid introduction to economic development for local government staff and elected officials. The recording is available in our Archived Webinars page for a fee.

Educational Objectives

Speakers will discuss how their organizations approach economic development and provide suggestions on:

  • Retaining and supporting existing businesses, including distribution of federal CARES monies,
  • Attracting new businesses,
  • Nurturing new, local entrepreneurs and micro-businesses,
  • Providing workforce development and support, including training, education, housing, and health care,
  • Using an equity lens as part of your economic development plan, and
  • Emphasizing the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

This webinar will also provide some insights into what the economic development landscape may look like after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who Should Attend?

Elected officials, city managers/administrators, county administrators, economic development and community development staff, planners, regional economic development council staff, chamber of commerce staff, and other people interested in economic development issues.


  • Michael Cade, Executive Director, Thurston Economic Development Council (Center for Business & Innovation). As Executive Director, Michael is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Thurston EDC. Prior to joining the Thurston EDC in 2004, he served as the Vice-President of the Snohomish County Economic Development Council from 1992 to 2003. His 30-year career in economic and community development has been focused on the recruitment of investment into the community, the retention of companies, and the development of community-based economic development plans and their strategic implementation. 
  • Chris Craig, Economic Development Manager, City of Burien. As the Economic Development Manager, Chris oversees programs and activities that supporting Burien’s existing business community, while attracting new businesses, investment, and jobs. Craig served as the city’s Economic Development Specialist from 2015-2019, managing Burien’s business retention and recruitment programs along with many other high-profile projects. Prior to coming to Burien, Chris worked for a housing developer.
  • Gina Stark, Economic Development Project Manager, Port of Bellingham.  As the Economic Development Project Manager, Gina works with organizations based throughout Whatcom County, including those in the technology, infrastructure, clean energy, workforce housing, and recreation sectors.  Gina also administers and manages grant programs for local businesses and serves as the Project Manager for the Whatcom Country Rural Broadband Initiative. Prior to joining the port, Gina spent 16 years working in Washington State government, including work for a state representative and former Congressman Denny Heck, as well as serving as the Director of External Affairs at the state Treasurer’s Office.
  • Steve Butler, Policy Manager—Planning Consultant, MRSC. Steve will serve as the webinar moderator.


Refund policy: Refunds of the webinar fee will be provided minus a $5.00 administrative fee if registration is canceled by 12 PM on Tuesday, December 8. If you are registered for the webinar and unable to attend, you will still be able to view the recorded webinar afterwards. However, if you cancel your registration, you will not receive a link to the recording.